API Singapore Ghost Tour (Unique Cemetries, Old Changi Hospital)13 September, 2009
Asia Paranormal Investigators (API) Singapore Ghost Tour
“Are you crazy?!?” “This is the last week of the 7th Month Hungry Ghost Festival and they are supposedly ‘hungriest’ now – why you still go Ghost Tour?!” That’s just some of the reactions I get from my friends when I asked them along for a “Spooky Thrills in the 7th Month” tour organised by 24seven and API.
According to API,
…this is not a thrill-seeking expedition, nor are you going to be aimlessly exploring abandoned places in search of ghosts or spirits. This is an expedition into the Urban Legends and Lost Heritage Landscape of Singapore … you will learn of the myths of abandoned places & the ancient practices that remain in modern Singapore.”
Good! Not a ghost-busting tour cos’ I am sure not trained for that 🙂
“Village of the Dead” – Bukit Brown Cemetery
We set off from Newton Food Centre at 9pm to our first stop – the “Village of the Dead” at the Bukit Brown cemetery area. From here, we were dispatched in teams of 4 to walk along a jungle trail marked by light sticks, to discover an abandoned village in the middle of the forest.
Along the trail, we were supposed to be spooked by API personnel dressed in scary attires e.g. Grim Reapers. While not very scary cos’ we sort of expected them and can see them from afar, I admire their bravery to stand in the middle of this abandoned cemetery (sometimes alone) waiting to ambush us.
Our first stop was an abandoned graveyard caretaker hut. It was really dark and I had to use my flashlight (we were given one each by API) to illuminate the hut so that I could take some pictures. What I ended up taking was quite eerie.. <<WARNING – SCARY PICTURES>>
Can you see the red face in the second picture?
Don’t freak yourself out.. 🙂 That was actually an API volunteer (a very brave lady)
As we left the hut to continue on the trail, we heard ‘scrub, scrub, scrub…’ from a distance and as we walk closer to the source of this strange sound, we saw a ‘ghost’ waving at us with another lady hard at work scrubbing clothes. We wondered “Who would be washing clothes so late at night and in the middle of nowhere?”
So we waited and see what will happen next. As we were busy snapping pictures to kill some time (about 5+ minutes), the lady suddenly stopped scrubbing and pointed to the trail we were supposed to continue on. 🙂 She must have been tired out by all that scrubbing and thinking “Why are you still here? You are supposed to be spooked and move along!”
Our last stop for this trail was a house built over a tomb. It is known as the Tan Boon Cheng House after the tomb. There is actually someone staying in this house and he lives in the dark as there are no electricity here. He keeps a number of pets e.g. dogs, rabbits for company.
A peek at the house interior seemed to indicate that he has all the basic amenities e.g. food, laundry (done by that scrubbing lady we met earlier? :-p), although the house looked quite messy. His dogs are very agitated by visitors and barked madly at us – understandably since they don’t get much visitors here.
The tomb is just behind the dogs (see red circle) and its in the middle of the house – giving rise to the claim that this house is built directly on top of the tomb.
After this, we then took an uneventful short walk back to the bus for our next destination – Singapore’s Most Haunted Place (according to the API guys)
Singapore’s Most Haunted Place – Old Changi Hospital (OCH)
The Old Changi Hospital (OCH) was vacated in 1997 when the New Changi Hospital is built. Rumors that a lot of people were killed around this area during World War II coupled with the fact that this was a hospital fueled the speculation that this is one of Singapore’s most haunted place.
This is not helped by the fact that the road leading to OCH is unlit (even though there were streetlamps) and one of the most haunted army barracks lie along the road to OCH. The Commando barracks used to line the road leading to OCH. Of all the abandoned barrack buildings, only one is fenced up and regularly patrolled by soldiers from the new Commando camp down the road.
It was said that there was a face of the Devil painted on the walls of this building as a mascot of the Commandos back in the 70/80s. When it was decided that army units should adopt animals as mascots instead, the soldiers tried to paint over the face with another image. However, the face of the Devil will always resurface the next morning after it was painted over. Thus they decided to leave it alone and designated it as a Store Barracks (with no store), fencing it out from the outside world to prevent anyone from going in.
As we proceeded to one part of OCH, we noticed a number of colorful talisman circling the area. This was apparently placed by priests to appease the angry spirits around here. You will see one of the youngest participant in our group in the picture below – recognize her? She was the one waving at us while her mother scrubs during the Bukit Brown cemetery trail. I think they are volunteers with API.
To detect the presence of ghost in the area, the API team sprinkled flour to form a circular perimeter (we are supposed to stand inside it). If ghosts are walking around, we should be able to see some footprints – we didnt see any though.
Then they set aside a number of gadgets around the perimeter – a motion sensor coupled with ghosts’ favorite food – tau sar piah and flat torch which they could trigger to indicate their presence.
The API also made use of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) where ghosts can communicate to us via White Noise. Charles set up a White Noise thing in his iPhone and recorded any “ghostly” conversations that might occured. Well.. other than a few false alarms (the motion sensors are pretty sensitive) which spooked out some of us, nothing much happened despite Charles’ numerous calls to the spirits to appear to us in some forms.
You can see Charles Goh – the founder of Asia Paranormal Investigators, explaining to us why and what we are doing here.
We then proceeded to the main complex of Old Changi Hospital (OCH). We walked around its complex grounds and couldnt go into the rooms as this hospital is gazetted as government land and entering the premises will constitute trespassing and if you are not already haunted by the angry ghosts inside, the government will haunt you with fines and lawyer letters… so better be obedient and peep in from the outside.
Guess what these symbols – Head, Medicine & Head, Anaesthesia means?
They are actually assigned carpark lots for the hospital management. 🙂
“Unclaimed Tombs” at Chua Chu Kang Cemetery
Our last destination for the day – Unclaimed Tombs at Chua Chu Kang Cemetery. These are not the typical tombstones that one would expect when going on a ghost tour to cemeteries.
In the 70-80s, as more land are being redeveloped, graves situated in these redeveloped areas are exhumed and those which were forgotten and unclaimed were then cremated and a stone marker was placed in cemeteries. Serial numbers are indicated on these stone markers in case someone is looking for these graves. Graves from the same area are grouped around this plot of land and the area is represented by a mini-hut (see above picture) where people can make their offerings.
Some of these stone markers also represent stillborns or aborted children. It was said that during Children’s Day, you will be able to see people making offerings to their unborn child.
With that, we were driven back to Newton Food Centre where we started out our journey. The caring API team even gave us a cupcake each for our supper! (with the added caveat that if the cupcake is tasteless, we shouldn’t eat it because that would be what food offerings to ghost will taste like! Gasp!)
Luckily for me, my Jolly Rogers cupcake tasted sweet and yummy – a perfect way to end an interesting and educational spooky trail! Thanks Charles Goh and the API team for the enlightening tour.
Other interesting cupcakes custom-made for this Spooky Ghost Trail courtesy of Cupcake Momma: